|Blue Eyed Brothers
Author: fredesrojo PM
Meet Kurt Austin of NUMA and his identical twin brother, Jethro Gibbs. High seas, intrigue, and a little romance abound! Spoilers for Season 3 Ep. 23 and 24 in NCIS. NUMA casefic.Rated: Fiction T - English - Family/Romance - Leroy Jethro Gibbs - Words: 5,013 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 7 - Published: 07-13-10 - id: 6139120
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
1. Unexplained Connections
The tall silver haired man got quite a few odd looks from agents as he calmly strolled through the bullpen of NCIS headquarters, walking up the stairs to the catwalk as if he owned the place. He entered the outer anteroom of Director Jennifer Shepard's office, stopping in front of her assistant's desk and clearing his throat politely.
Cynthia Sumner glanced up, her brow furrowing in confusion. "How can I help you, sir?"
The man's coral blue eyes twinkled with a hidden amusement as he smiled politely and spoke. "I'm Kurt Austin; Director Shepard's eleven o' clock?"
"Oh, right, of course, I'll let her know you're here, Mr. Austin." She hit a button on her phone, speaking quietly for a moment before hanging up. "Go on in, sir."
"Thank you very much, Miss Sumner." Austin's mouth quirked up in a small smile as he turned to enter the office, closing the door quietly behind himself.
Director Jenny Shepard looked up from the file she was perusing, slipping her reading glasses off of her nose and standing with a smile. "Mr. Austin, nice to meet you. Jenny Shepard." She walked over and offered a hand, her eyes flicking over his form.
"Please, call me Kurt." He smiled back as he gripped her hand firmly, shaking a few times. "Is…is there something wrong in the way I dress, Director Shepard? I've been garnering odd looks since I walked into the building."
"What? Oh, no, you just remind me of one of my former agents." Jenny shook her head slightly to clear it. "My apologies."
Kurt bit back a smirk, his blue eyes flickering with hidden amusement again as he shook his head. "Not a problem, Director." He walked over, taking a seat at the conference table, a file gripped in his right hand. "Here's that file you asked for, about Commander Fisher's work on our research project. I'm sorry there isn't much, he only worked with us for a month or two."
Jenny took a seat at the table next to him, taking the file with a nod of thanks. "It may not sound like much, but it will give us a reasonable window for where the Commander could have met with the Triads and started his dealing."
"Well, NUMA is glad to help out in any way, ma'am." Kurt flashed another charming smile her way, resting his elbows on the table. "Is that all you need? I can have my team stop by, if you need to interview any of us."
"No, no, this is very helpful. Agent DiNozzo will be in touch if they do need to interview you or your team about the Commander, but I believe this will be enough."
He nodded and stood, reaching into his wallet to pull out a card. "We'll be down in Mexico for the next few weeks on another research project, you'll need to call me at this number if you need to get in contact."
Jenny stood with him, taking the card with a nod, shaking his hand one last time. "Thank you again, Mr. Austin. We'll be in touch if we need you." She saw him out and then walked back to her desk with a long sigh, sinking down in the chair, resting her forehead in her hands a moment. She sat back after a moment, opening her desk drawer to pull out an old, wrinkled photograph, staring sadly at the man in the picture. Although Kurt Austin had Jethro by a few inches in height, otherwise, the two men could have been identical twins. Tall, broad shouldered, silver-grey hair, and a pair of arresting blue eyes. Both men had well-callused hands and weathered skin, and extremely similar facial expressions. Jenny sighed again, running a finger along the face in the picture sadly. Doppelganger or not, Jethro was gone.
"Oy, LJ! Get up off your lazy ass and come help me strap this thing down!" Kurt's voice rang out across decks of the turquoise NUMA ship, catapulting Leroy Jethro Gibbs out of his deck chair.
"Hang on, I'm comin'!" Gibbs grumbled briefly under his breath as he jogged the length of the deck to his twin brother, easily reaching up and helping him strap a pallet of equipment down on the deck. "What the hell is all this stuff?"
"Research equipment." Kurt tugged on the ties, making sure they were secure, before grabbing two beers out of a cooler and relaxing in a deck chair. "Saw your redheaded boss, when I was in D.C. the other day. Kept gettin' double-takes when I walked through the building."
"Well, yeah, none of them know I've got a twin." LJ shrugged, reclining in his chair lazily.
"So you just don't talk about your family at all, then." The disapproval in his brother's tone seeped through his sarcastic remark.
"No, Kurt, I don't. You got a problem with that?" Gibbs leveled his famous glare at his twin brother, his tone dangerous.
"Hell yeah I do, LJ! Damnit, I didn't even know you'd gotten your damn self blown up 'til you showed up on my ship! I asked Yeager to look into your file for me; find out you didn't even list me as next of kin! I mean what the hell? Am I not family now?" Kurt glared back, his arms folding across his broad chest. "Just because you had a falling out with Dad doesn't mean you have to disown everyone, Lee. I've always been there for you, I don't get why you won't accept that."
"No, I wasn't…I'm not trying to say you aren't family, Kurt, I just…look, I don't like mixing my private life with work. Nobody, except for Ziva, knew about Shannon and Kelly, and most of them know not to ask about my family now. I just…I can't handle losing someone else I care about. I…I don't know."
"So, you're hiding your family because of some stupid, irrational fear that if you don't, I'll die in a horrible accident?"
LJ managed a wry grin. "Well, now that you put it like that…"
"Sounds pretty stupid, aye?" Kurt snorted, tilting his beer back against his lips. "I'm not plannin' on dyin' anytime soon, Lee, I promise. Besides, Murphy's gonna catch up with you first, the way you're goin'."
"Hah, you're funny, sound just like Ducky. He's always yelling at me…'You're going to get yourself killed one of these days following your gut, Jethro.' Same damn lecture every time he has to patch me up." He rolled his eyes, taking a long drink of beer, his gaze softening. "How was everyone? Did you see m—DiNozzo's team?"
"They seemed fine. DiNozzo damn near called me 'boss', I think he might've thought you were comin' back. I just played dumb. Your Director lady looked real sad though, kept staring at me when she thought I wasn't looking. Didn't really see anyone else." Kurt shrugged. "Why'd you leave?"
"I'm sick of seeing the bad guys win. We had intel that a terrorist named PinPin Pula was gonna blow up the Cape Fear, and the higher ups just sat there and did nothing. I handed in my badge and gun to Tony, and came to find you."
"Huh. Well, you can stay here as long as you like, Lee, but I really think you oughta think about going back."
Gibbs snorted. "What the hell for?"
"Well, if your dream mumblings are anything to go by, I'd say you miss that redheaded Director, unless you know somebody else named 'Jenny'." Kurt gave his brother a sly grin and a wink, nudging his shoulder lightly.
LJ looked melancholy, his gaze darkening slightly. "That ship has sailed, Kurt. She said she didn't wanna start back up."
"Did she now? That's not the vibe I was gettin' from all of her looks. I think you'd be pleasantly surprised if you went back, LJ."
"Yeah, well, I don't. I'm not gonna put myself out on the line, just to get hurt all over again. She left once, who's to say she won't do it a second time?"
"Do what you want, Lee, but you'll never know until you try." He stood up as he spoke, tossing the empty bottle in the trash bag on deck as he walked away, leaving Gibbs with his thoughts.
"Hey, Tony, here's that file on Commander Fisher from NUMA. Director Shepard dropped it off while you were out with Ziva." McGee held up a bright turquoise file as Tony and Ziva re-entered the bullpen.
"Ah, thanks, McGoo. Probie, where are we on that lead in the Caymans?" Tony sank down in his (Gibbs') chair, flicking the file open as he directed his next query at Michelle Lee.
"Um…even with the warrant, we lost the lead in Mexico, boss."
He sighed, tossing the open file down on his desk. "Thanks, Probie. Looks like that's where he left NUMA, too. McGee, sum up what we have so far!"
"Ah…Commander Fisher, suspected of selling Navy secrets, killed two weeks ago in a bus accident. One of the programs he was working on, a new SONAR system, has subsequently gone missing, with all leads dead-ending in Mexico. As of right now, our best lead is the NUMA research project." McGee pulled a few different photos and files up on the plasma as he spoke, ending with a copy of the NUMA file flashing in the middle of the screen. "He worked for two months with the NUMA Special Projects Team off the coast of Mexico."
"And what do we know about this Special Projects Team?"
"Not much. Headed by Kurt Austin, with three other members: Joe Zavlava, and Paul and Gamay Trout." He pulled four pictures up on the plasma.
"So…other than a more than passing resemblance to the Bossman, we've got nothing on Austin or his team."
"No…but I can look and see what I can find." McGee was already in front of his keyboard, his fingers flying over the keys.
"I might be able to help with that, Agent McGee." Jenny spoke up from the entrance to the bullpen, leaning against the divider next to Ziva's desk. She held out a flash drive to the Special Agent. "Pull that up on the plasma."
Tony had already moved to pull a chair over for Jenny, motioning the rest of the team over. "Campfire, let's go."
McGee barely concealed an exasperated eye roll, plugging the flash drive into his computer, pulling up the files it contained onto the plasma. He frowned at the first picture that came up, glancing over at Jenny warily. "Er…Director…I think you might have pulled up Gibbs' file by accident."
"No, I didn't. Look closer." Jenny reached over and took the clicker from McGee's desk, pulling up another photo. "The one on the left is Gibbs, and the one on the right…that's Kurt Austin. They're identical twins."
Jenny bit back a smile at the simultaneous response from the entire team, pulling up another file on-screen. "I'm not kidding, seriously. Take a look at this: Leroy Jethro Gibbs and Kurt Isaac Gibbs, born November 10, 1958 to Jackson Gibbs and Mary Austin-Gibbs." She rapidly clicked through a series of pictures as she talked, showing Gibbs and Austin throughout their lives. "Their mother died just after their twelfth birthday, and it seems like both had a sort of falling out with their father soon after. They both enlisted in the Marines the day they turned 18, looks like Kurt went and had his name legally changed to his mother's maiden name. Jethro met his first wife Shannon, they married before he shipped out on his second round of Basic…there's no record on file of Kurt marrying anyone. Jethro went to sniper school, while it looks like Kurt was recruited by the CIA, joining NUMA a few years later. After Shannon and Kelly's deaths, Jethro ended up at NCIS, while Kurt continued his work with the Special Projects Team at NUMA, which…brings us to what we have now."
"So…let me get this straight…Gibbs has a twin brother none of us knew about, and he's connected with our current case. Gibbs got himself blown up three weeks ago, and we find out he had a wife and kid who were killed by some drug dealer. Oh, and Gibbs up and decided he was done being a federal agent because he can't remember crap about the past fifteen years and thinks it's 1991, and quit to go have some damn siesta in Mexico. Am I getting all of this right, or did I miss something?" Tony threw his hands up, his voice barely hiding the sarcasm behind his remarks.
Jenny sighed, bringing up a few more files on the plasma. "Well, yes, there is this last piece here in these newspaper articles." She enlarged the headline on the first page she brought up, showing a picture of Gibbs and Kurt standing on the deck of a bright turquoise NUMA ship, with the headline Austin Brothers Find Lost Treasure emblazoned above it. "Apparently, Jethro has been hiding a life as a treasure hunter as well. There are at least ten stories here, all coinciding with Gibbs' periods of mandatory medical leave from NCIS after injuries on the job. He has a separate passport under the name of Lee Austin, which is why it took me longer to find these; he's never listed as Jethro Gibbs in any of these newspaper articles."
Tony grumbled briefly under his breath, rubbing the bridge of his nose sharply. "Alright, so…First, Gibbs has some super secret twin brother he's never told us about, and now we find out he's got a secret treasure hunter identity he's hiding from us. Is there anything else he's hiding? Another wife? Maybe he's a serial killer masquerading as a treasure hunting Federal Agent? Jeez…you think you know a person, and then you find out they're hiding a second life."
"Tony…come on, now, he wasn't purposefully hiding it, he just doesn't talk family." Jenny shook her head slightly, shrugging. "He hardly talked family when I worked with him, and he was married to Diane then."
"Yeah, well, from what I've heard of her, I wouldn't talk about her either." DiNozzo snorted, leaning back in his chair. "Ignoring that…our only lead right now is the NUMA Special Projects Team, who are conveniently on assignment in Mexico. How much you wanna bet that Bo—Gibbs is down there with them?"
"Chances are pretty good, I'd say, seeing as the majority of his medical leaves coincide with quite a few of the team's projects." Jenny propped her feet up against McGee's desk, staring at the picture on the plasma. "I'm going down to Mexico to interview Austin's team."
"What?" Tony whirled in his chair, staring at her. "Director, it's our case. One of us should go interview."
"Agent DiNozzo, last I checked, it said Director on my door, not yours. I can and will investigate any case I see fit. Officer David will be accompanying me, with tech support from Agent McGee on this end." Jenny narrowed her eyes back at him, glaring. "You have a problem with that?"
Tony shook his head quickly, avoiding her glare. "No ma'am, no problem at all."
"Good. Ziva, we're leaving tomorrow, meet at my house at eight." With her parting words, Jenny slipped back out of the bullpen, heading upstairs to her office.
A loud clang resounded across the decks of the Huntress, one of the older ships in the NUMA fleet. A small submersible sat on the foredeck, a pair of well tanned legs sticking up out of the hatch. "Kurt, gimme that wrench."
Austin glanced up from his reading, fishing a wrench out of the toolbox sitting next to him. He leaned over and slapped it into the waiting hand waving out of the hatch. "You figure out what's wrong with it, Lee?"
"Well, it sounds like th-." Gibbs' answer was cut off by a metallic clang, followed by a gush of steam and a steady stream of curses.
Kurt chuckled softly, returning to his book. "Tsk tsk, big brother, there's ladies aboard the ship. What would they think of your awful language? Where are those manners we learned?"
He winced sharply as Lee yelled exactly where he could stick his manners, pulling a ringing cell phone out. "Yeah, this is Kurt."
He snapped the phone shut a moment later, already headed up to the bridge. "Hey, Cap, we gotta head back to port, we've got a few more hands to pick up."
Jenny glanced sideways at their companions on the turquoise blue NUMA jet as it soared through the air, headed for a landing in a small airport in Mexico, where they would drive to meet the Huntress.
Dirk Pitt, Jr., lounged lazily on one of the couches of the executive jet, his tall 6' 3" frame hunched in the small quarters of the jet. He looked like a doppelganger of his father, Dirk Pitt, Sr., with wavy black hair and a set of mesmerizing green eyes. His twin sister, Summer, sat in one of the chairs, her long legs tucked comfortably beneath her as she read a magazine, her bright red hair shadowing her face.
"So, Kurt and the team are under investigation now, Director Shepard?" Dirk spoke quietly, shifting to fix his gaze on her.
"No, but we need to interview them about Commander Fisher. We're trying to figure out when he began contacting the cartels to sell the Navy's secrets."
Pitt raised his eyebrows skeptically, his eyes flickering over to focus on Ziva for a moment. "Oh, so they're just that special, that they warrant a personal visit from the Director of NCIS and her Mossad liason officer."
"And just what exactly do you mean by that?" Jenny narrowed her eyes, sitting up a little straighter.
"If you wanted to know where Lee was, all you had to do was ask, ma'am. We would've told you, no problem at all. There's no need for all this subterfuge to come check up on your agent. You know Kurt gave you all the info his team had on Fisher." He folded his arms across his chest, giving her a mild look.
"I…well…that's not why we're…"
"Yeah, it is. Dad's not dumb, and neither are the rest of us. We'd appreciate some cooperation, seeing as we're being nice enough to allow you two to disrupt our project coming down to 'interview' everyone."
Jenny frowned slightly, acquiescing with a small nod. "My apologies, Mr. Pitt. It won't happen again."
"Ahoy the Huntress! You layabouts got room for four more?" Dirk stood on the dock, his duffel bag slung haphazardly over one shoulder.
Summer held up a cardboard box teasingly. "We brought beer…"
Both siblings chuckled as the ship came to life, with most of the crew members rushing out on deck. A middling height, well built Hispanic man appeared at the entrance to the gangplank, a wide grin stretching his face. "Buenos tardes, amigos! C'mon aboard, and gimme that beer, Summer!" Jose "Joe" Zavlava grinned easily as he took the box from Summer, ushering the foursome aboard. He bowed slightly at the waist to both Jenny and Ziva, smiling charmingly. "Afternoon, lovely ladies. Welcome aboard the Huntress. I'm Joe Zavlava, resident engineer on this bucket 'o bolts."
"Nice to meet you. I'm Jenny Shepard, and this is Ziva David." Jenny shook his free hand, her eyes already scanning the ship looking for Gibbs.
"Lovely to meet you too, Jenny, Ziva." Joe took each of their hands in turn, pressing a light kiss to the back of them. "If you'll follow me, I'll show you where to put your bags."
Dirk and Summer had apparently already settled their things, chatting avidly with a tall, thin man wearing a bowtie. Joe took both to their bunks, before taking them around to introduce them to the crew. By the time they got back to the Pitts, the bowtie wearing man had been joined by a tall redhead. "And, finally, these are the other two team members here, Paul and Gamay Trout. Paul, Gamay, this is Jenny Shepard and Ziva David, from NCIS."
Paul and Gamay took the offered hands, shaking firmly. Paul spoke up, revealing a distinct New Englander accent. "Nice to meet you, ladies." He shifted his gaze to Joe, fiddling with his bowtie. "Kurt and LJ went into town for something, they'll be back in a bit, then we can set sail. Lee said to have you take a look at the fourth and fifth cylinders on the deck crane's engine; he doesn't think they're firing right."
"So, Gibbs is really here?"
"If by Gibbs, you mean Kurt's brother Lee, then yeah, he's here." Joe broke out an ice cold beer, running it over his forehead. "He comes on a few assignments a year with us, I guess it's some sort of vacation for him."
Jenny nodded, settling down in an offered deck chair. "Well, thank you for your hospitality. Hopefully, these questions won't take long and we can get out of your hair."
"So, who'd we pick up?" Gibbs carried a box balanced on his shoulder as he and Kurt walked along, headed back to the docks with their purchases.
"Dirk and Summer. Oh, and your lady Director and that Israeli girl on your old team." Kurt spoke nonchalantly, with the air of someone getting something over with quickly.
Gibbs stopped dead, his face pale as he stared at his brother. "WHAT?"
"You heard me." Kurt slowed his steps, swiveling to stare at his brother. "What's the big deal?"
"I didn't…I don't wanna be found! I come out here to relax and get away from all that crap!" He swore loudly, setting the box down. "Damn, Kurt, what the hell were you thinking?"
"Oh, I dunno, maybe it's about time my big brother has some happiness in his life?" Kurt set his box down, leaning against a jetty post as he watched his twin pace back and forth. "You and that redheaded Director have some serious history, and I think it's about damn time you find someone you're happy with."
"Jen said that there wouldn't be any off the job, Kurt. If that's what she wants, I'm gonna respect that." His shoulders slumped as he stopped pacing, staring down at the ground.
"Jesus, Lee, you gone spineless on me now? Where's the guy who drove across the damn country to take Shannon out on a date? Where's the guy who skipped out on the last day of sniper training to propose to her? Where's that ass-kicking Special Agent who's got the highest solve rate in NCIS?" He stepped forward, shaking Gibbs' shoulders sharply. "Wake up, Lee!"
"You shut up! I'm not goddamn spineless!" Lee swung at his brother angrily.
Kurt took the hit, letting it glance off his shoulder, shaking his brother again. "Then go win her back, dammit! The Lee Gibbs I know wouldn't stand down for anything. The Lee Gibbs I know would go show Jenny what a mistake she's making. The Lee I know would go win her back."
Gibbs blinked, shaking his head like a dog, trying to clear his thoughts. "You really think I've got a chance?"
"Based on the looks I was getting when I saw her, brother, I'd say you've got a pretty damn good chance." Kurt grinned as he watched his brother straighten up, a new light sparkling in his eyes. "There we go, that's the Lee Gibbs I know."
His lips twitched up in a half grin as he bent to pick up the box again. "C'mon, we've got a boat to catch."
Tuneless Spanish singing filled the air on the decks of the Huntress, as Joe Zavlava worked vigorously on the deck crane's engine, an open box of tools lying by his prone form.
"Ah, hell, Joe, wouldja cut out the caterwauling? Jesus, ya sound like a dying cat." Gibbs walked across the gangplank, skillfully balancing two large boxes on his shoulders.
Joe raised one hand, making a rude gesture as his friend. "Everyone's a critic, Lee."
Kurt laughed, following his brother up onto the ship. "Well, definitely in your case, Joe." He set his box down with a thud, glancing around deck. "Looks like everyone's here."
"Yep. Dirk and Summer got here half an hour ago with Director Shepard and Officer David. They're all set, so whenever the two of you are ready, we can set sail." Joe extracted himself from under the engine, wiping his hands off on a rag.
Jenny looked up from the book she was reading as the commotion over near the gangplank caught her attention. "Ziva, he's here."
"Lee!" Summer Pitt sprinted over, attacking the former NCIS agent with a tight hug. "I haven't seen you in ages!"
"Sure feels like it." Gibbs smiled, gently hugging her back. "Good to see you, kiddo. Where's your brother?"
"Right here, LJ. How are you?" Dirk strode over, clapping him on the back a few times. "Damn, marine, you got old."
"Still young enough to keep up with you, boy." He chuckled, swiping the back of Dirk's head teasingly. "Plus, your daddy's still older than me."
Jenny and Ziva approached the crowd, watching Gibbs and his interactions with the others. "So, you're leaving NCIS to go work for NUMA now, Jethro?"
Gibbs turned to face the women, his lips quirking in a light smirk. "Nah, just taking a little vacation. I only filed for medical leave, not retirement, Jen." After a long moment, he stepped forward to give them both a hug. "It's...good to see you, Jenny, Ziver."
Ziva accepted the hug warily, allowing a small smile. "It is good to see you too, Gibbs. I am glad you are looking better."
Jenny remained silent, giving Austin and then Gibbs a rather pointed look. "So, more family you're hiding from us, Jethro?"
"I, uh…no, not exactly. This is my brother, Kurt Austin. Kurt, you, uh…well, you know, you've met them." He managed a weak smile, gesturing futilely in-between them.
"Lovely to meet you, Kurt." Jenny smiled rather coldly, gripping his hand in a light handshake. "So nice of you to introduce yourself the first time we met."
Austin's face flushed slightly. "Er, yeah. My bad. Nice to meet you again." He swallowed heavily, noting the obvious tension between his brother and the redheaded Director. "Well, we should, um, get going, so I'm gonna go talk to Cap, get us underway."
The others followed suit rapidly, leaving Jenny and Gibbs standing across from each other. Gibbs looked almost apologetic, his gaze focused on the deck planking. "Jen—I was…I mean, I wanted to, um, I wanted to apologize. I'm…sorry I didn't tell you about Kurt."
Jenny leaned against the railing, her arms folded. "And your first wife, and child, Jethro? Jesus, you didn't trust any of us enough to talk about them?"
He flinched visibly, fiddling with the brim of his hat nervously. "Jenny…I don't—didn't talk about Shan—Shannon and Kelly all that much. I—I just…I can't, you know, just talk about it normally, like it's an everyday occurrence. I swear, it's nothing to do with trusting you guys or not, honestly I do trust you, all of you, with my life. I just…it's not a normal conversational topic."
She conceded his point with a small nod, meeting his gaze. "And all these NUMA projects?"
"It's just a stress-reliever, that's all it's ever been. It's not like I work for NUMA or anything, I just, sort of help out every once in a while." Gibbs gave her a small smile. "I'm not trying to leave NCIS, I promise. I wouldn't shoot NUMA in the head like that, sticking them with me year-round." He held out his hand tentatively, his eyes clear and honest. "Truce? I don't want you upset with me, Jen, that's not what I'm trying for. Can we just let bygones be bygones? Be friends again?"
Jenny took it after a moment of hesitation, flashing a slight smile. "Friends." She pulled on his hand, maneuvering him into a tight hug. "C'mere, you big goof." She lightly headslapped him. "That was for disappearing."
Gibbs relaxed into the hug, smiling into her hair. "Yes, ma'am. No more disappearing, got it, ma'am."
A/n: So, what do you think? It's going to be a seven or eight chapter piece, probably JIBBS and ZIVA/OC by the end.
I know I haven't been updating lately, I'm trying to finish up Chapter 7 for the Gunny's Son, so hopefully by the end of next week?
Reviews are always welcome!